Earthquakes, wars, traffic accidents and fires are events which we encounter in the daily news and in which each of us might experience directly as bystanders, victims, or rescuers. But what are the psychological consequences of such experiences? How do victims react? What are the most appropriate actions we can undertake in such situations? Using a fluid, appealing language and style and drawing on a wealth of examples from real life eyewitnesses and literature, the author examines and describes the complex psychological reactions and neuro-physiological conditions that human beings express when they must deal with an emergency. The text offers a definition of the very concept of emergency, explains experiences of shock and how they are managed, illustrates how to cope with victims and extreme, critical situations; the reader is shown how to comprehend the most appropriate strategies for relating to and helping people involved in emergencies. The book is useful for psychologists who deal with emergencies and traumata, but also for all those who for various reasons (doctors, rescue workers, volunteers, professionals, emergency workers) may find themselves engaged in assisting victims of shocking events.
Vanna Axia taught Children's Health Psychology at the University of Padua and directed several research projects in paediatric psycho-oncology.